The Great Minisite Review Thread

Discussion in 'Mini Sites' started by melat0nin, Feb 19, 2008.

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Are you happy with your minisites' performance?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    15.6%
  2. Could be better

    13 vote(s)
    40.6%
  3. No

    7 vote(s)
    21.9%
  4. What's a minisite?

    7 vote(s)
    21.9%
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  1. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I've read and participated in lots and lots of discussion in the 'How to make a domain earn £1 a week' thread, and I've learned tons from it and tried to implement its wisdom in the minisites that I have created.

    Rather than flogging that thread to death with endless updates, I thought it might be good to start a new thread (in honour of that one) showing off the fruits of that thread, along with reviews/tips/advice to improve on people's sites' performances.

    So far, I have 9 minisites online, all launched since ~4th January but not at the same time. Some are far more successful that others. Since I started, my average as of today is $1.14 per day. This includes one bumper day due to Gumtree ads which netted $11.35, and which was a total one-off. I get an average of 58 impressions a day, and 2 clicks.

    My initial target was (and still is) to reach £1 per day (so roughly $2). It's a small target, and that's why I made it.

    Ad Types

    Ad types have been very variable for me. My oldest sites (like Noisy Neighbours use the same template, and as yet Wide Skyscrapers set under the site menu have had the most success. Skyscrapers in general have had the greatest success for me, with CTR of 2.24%.

    Other people seem to have had great success with Big Square ads positioned on the left of a block of content (like http://www.scottishrealestate.co.uk/scotland-housing-market-2008.html) but my CTR is almost non-existent for this type of ad. I'm wondering if the users going to my sites are too savvy for these types of ad?

    Standard 468x60 banners have had some success, but nothing like the Skyscrapers.

    This is odd, because Google themselves say that ads which are wide, which people can read easily, usually have the best CTR. Still, I've only got those big squares on my newer sites/pages and therefore the lack of traffic may mean their CTR cannot be accurately compared with the Skyscrapers.

    Ideas

    I'm wondering where to go to next to reach my initial target (except making more sites). I've got the formula for building a minisite pretty much perfected, but I'm sure I'm missing things with SEO and ad placement. I want my current sites (and in turn my minisite workflow) to be as efficient as possible, so I can be sure that each site is performing at its maximum potential before moving onto the next one.

    Do any minisite gurus or SEO magicians have any thoughts for us new minisite creators in that vein?
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. BFTUK

    BFTUK Active Member

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    I've not had a chance to take a detailed look at your sites and their targeted keywords but i'd suggest the following SEO wise.

    a) Build a portfolio site, where you can create a single page with a brief description about each of your sites and feed a (or in the case of a multiple page minisite) a few keyword related links. You could do this in a blog format and mix in other posts in order to try a build a little authority for your portfolio site.

    b) Cross link between related sites within your network.

    c) Find a couple of reasonable quality sites related to your niche where you can buy / barter / beg a couple of keyword links.

    d) Wait 3 - 12 months and your site should (without you having picked a too competitive niche) spring onto the front page.

    I could go in to massive detail about keyword difficulty and research etc, but this blog post i did awhile ago covered some of it in a little more detail.
     
  4. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    BFT,

    Thanks for your response! Some questions:

    A) a portfolio site. Should this be created on an already established site (with inlinks and a PR), or is it enough to create an entirely new site? If so, does the domain matter? Is something totally unrelated okay, like a forum nick (www.melat0nin.net)?

    I will read your blog post too.

    As regards choosing a niche, I've been using the following method:

    Good niche = few google hits + many daily searches + free keyword-rich domain name.

    Pretty simple formula, but it works to a certain extent! The numbers are of course flexible -- the number of google hits doesn't always mean very much; I've been looking for niches with less than around the 300,000 hit mark, but Scottish Real Estate is on the front page with over 800,000 other hits. I think the volume of searches coupled with a bit of intuition is the most important thing.


     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2008
  5. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    Any thoughts about this?

     
  6. woopwoop United States

    woopwoop Well-Known Member

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    Nice thread that you've started here.

    I'm not sure about the portfolio site but I've been trying to do a few more mini sites. I still have a bit of work to do with them but will post them here maybe in this thread.

    One thing that I noticed with the scottish real estate website is that you have a mortgage calculator. Not sure if you already have this attached to it - don't think you do - but there are probably mortgage affiliates that have their own tool that you embed and you might be able to get paid per referal, per mortgage or per calculation etc.

    I think that there needs to be more content on your sites too.

    I'm not sure if that defeats the point of a minisite, but personally I prefer a beefier minisite to bring in traffic from google than a lean one.

    One thing that I'm trying to do is build a useful niche directory with one of my sites, this will hopefully bring in a lot of repeat visitors. With carefully placed adsense, they are more likely to click the links alongside the directory listings of similar companies...

    Am yet to go live but will post my findings here. Would be nice to see other peoples sites, and learn more about not just the SEO side of things but also the adsense placement.
     
  7. BFTUK

    BFTUK Active Member

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  8. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    I mean there are 800,000 hits on SERPS for the term 'scottish real estate' (it depends which version of google you search for, i'm getting 640,000 from my FF search bar). As for searches, there are 12 per day for that term (very low) but I get plenty of long tail hits, particularly 'scottish housing market 2008' (or similar), which is the reason I added another page to the site with that as the file name and relevant content on it.

    I think I'll register a domain and get a mini directory together.

    As regards getting more content; I (and my brother in law) researched and wrote all of the content for my sites - some topics are much easier to write about that others -- it's much more interesting to research and write about the Scottish housing market than ceramic straighteners. Oh well.

    Any ideas for getting more good content cheaply (read: for free) are welcome! I saw a script/program on Digital Point designed to rephrase articles to create 100% unique content, and I was tempted to get it, but really I wasn't totally convinced. I'm quite particular about grammar and spelling and whatnot (I'm a content editor for my University's website!), and even if I'm throwing some content together, I still want the text to flow and sound good.
     
  9. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    How much work do you guys with successful minisites do to keep them running? Is it a case of doing the inital legwork (content, indexing, some SEO) then just letting them run?

    I'm not sure where to strike the balance between doing little work (which is the point of a minisite) and keeping working at it to increase revenue. I've got bags of experience making sites, but very little making money off them or getting them ranked well -- so I'm not really able to gauge the potential a site has. My promotion has basically consisted of forum posts/signatures, some link building, links from my personal site and gumtree. I've also done some SEO using phrases from Wordtracker. Once I make a mini directory site I don't suppose there's anywhere to go, except (perhaps) adding more content?
     
  10. senty4love

    senty4love Member

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    Hi Melot....Thanks for creating and updating this thread...since that £1 thread, I also got into minisites trend...I just started with one idea (still under construction)...Your sites look great...Can I ask you what cms did you use for these sites? I am pretty new to website creation..i am familiar with Wordpress but for minisites i think other cms would do better....Your thoughts please
     
  11. melat0nin

    melat0nin Active Member

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    I haven't used CMS on any of my sites :)

    For a site with only a few pages, I find it quicker and more efficient just to duplicate the pages and enter the content myself. I also like the flexibility of being able to quickly define one-off styles and whatnot without being tied to a central framework.

    Another consideration is that the host I'm using for my .nets is currently selling them for £1 for a year. They are really quick (and obviously cheap!) but the price I pay is that I don't get PHP/MySQL. Still, with 10megs and 1gig data transfer it's more than enough for a minisite.

    As regards Wordpress -- I have installed it a couple of times and played with it, and to be honest it seems pretty feature-packed. With plugins and themes I don't really see what else you could want for a minisite.

    That said, Scott made a post in the £1 thread (http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/affiliate-marketing/15996-making-domain-earn-1-week-18.html#post82191) about how Wordpress duplicates your front page, which is something to think about. Obviously that can't happen with static pure (X)HTML sites.
     
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